Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dry Planting Garden Wins Best in Show at Chelsea


Cleve West’s garden for the Daily Telegraph has won Best in Show at the Chelsea Flower show. It is full of plants that would work well in this area (although there may be some that are not frost hardy). His inspiration came from a trip to Libya.


Here’s a clip of the garden in construction :




& a video of him receiving first a Gold & then Best in Show :




Links to his garden & planting schemes through Crocus UK : Cleve West Daily Telegraph Garden

There were many gardens featuring dry planting & here you can see : the BBC coverage of all the show gardens plus schedules for the BBC coverage for the rest of this week.

Here is a link to : the RHS website dedicated to Chelsea Flower Show

The first garden that Monaco has exhibited also won a Gold medal.

This year seems to have been a particularly good Chelsea, despite the unusally warm weather having brought on plants too fast but has also meant that there are some that are not always seen at the Show. You should bear in mind when looking at the Show Gardens that this is a “Show” and many of the plants would not be flowering at the same time, however, the judges apparently mark down gardens that have plants from too many flowering times.

There are many design ideas that could be used in our own gardens that don’t require a huge budget and should be a great inspiration.

Lots of the exhibits feature ideas for attracting beneficial insects and wildlife which we should all try to incorporate into our own gardens.



All planting into open ground should be left until the Autumn now, when it is cooler. It is also a good time to give hardy perennials The Chelsea Chop. If you can’t bear to lose flowers now, at least cut herbs back, such as basil, mint and melissa to prevent flowering and encourage more growth in September when they come out of their Summer domancy.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Les conseils de Jean Yves Meignen



Nous venons de traverser un mois d’avril beaucoup plus chaud que la normale ce qui a modifié la floraison de certaines plantes et le cycle de certains insectes. Mais il n'y a pas d’inquiétude à se faire pour l’instant. Et surtout nous n'avons pas à changer nos habitudes de jardinier face à des épisodes climatiques qui ne présagent pas encore de généralité.
Le sud de la France a pu bénéficier de bonnes pluies tel que son climat le caractérise. Les terres auront plus ou moins bien absorbé ces précipitations parfois très denses. Les paillages auront très bien joué leur rôle en protégeant de l'effet de « battance » des pluies et en permettant une meilleure infiltration. Ils pourront maintenant éviter les pertes par évaporation pour les mois estivaux plus secs.

Toutes les plantes rentrées cet hiver retrouvent leur place en extérieur. Il est bon de faire un bon « surfaçage » avec du compost.


Pour les Agrumes, un apport d’azote sous forme organique comme le « guano » est très bénéfique à cette époque de l’année. Je vous conseille de pulvériser un engrais foliaire riche en oligo-éléments pour compenser la difficulté de ces plantes à capter les éléments nutritifs souvent bloqués par l’eau calcaire.

Les Oliviers fleuriront bientôt. Pour prévenir les attaques de mouches posez des pièges à phéromones qui éviteront la reproduction donc les pontes dans les fruits en formation. Suspendez ces pièges à mi-hauteur des arbres, côté est.

Au Potager, vous trouverez une offre très variée de plants de tomates avec des variétés anciennes et c’est une bonne chose. Je vous conseille de planter dans un trou profond (30 cm) au fond duquel vous déposerez une poignée d’orties fraîches qui fournira des éléments nutritifs et de compost. Enterrez la tige du plant de tomate sur 15 cm ce qui renforcera l’enracinement. Paillez le pied et n’arrosez pas en excès pour garder une bonne qualité gustative.

La taille est réservée aux arbustes à floraison de printemps maintenant terminée, tels les Forsythias ou les Lilas. Je vous conseille une taille qui consiste à supprimer certaines branches anciennes pour permettre la naissance de nouvelles pousses depuis la base des plantes.

L’Homéopathie appliquée au jardin a maintenant fait ses preuves et je vous conseille de tenter cette expérience sur vos plantes pour leur donner beaucoup plus de vitalité et résistance. Pour les présences d’insectes phytophages qui mettraient en danger certaines plantes (Criocères du Lis, Chenilles défoliatrices, Cochenilles, Araignées rouges, Pucerons trop voraces…..) un mélange d’Huiles Essentielles apporte une solution répulsive très efficace et sans bouleverser l’environnement et votre santé.


Jean Yves Meignen

Abbaye de Valsaintes

Découvrez nos soins naturels des plantes sur : www.roseraie-abbaye.com


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Photos for the month of May

Broadleaved Helleborine Orchid , Jacqui initially thought it was a weed:




A magnificent Fremontodendron from Liliane Feldman's garden:

Photo's: Liliane Feldman and Jacqueline Hodkinson

Friday, 6 May 2011

4 May, our visit to Castel Sainte Claire & Iris en Provence





This month's garden group outing was to the Parc et Castel Sainte-Claire situated just above the old town of Hyeres. The spot where the Castel Sainte-Claire is situated has quite a history. The restored city walls in the Parc date back to the 12th century, the walls were destroyed by Cardinal Richelieu during the time of Louis XIII.


Does anyone know the name of this plant which flowers at the end of the stalk?


In the 17th century, there was a convent named "Sainte Claire" on the site, it followed the religious order (Institute of Poor Women) founded by "Sainte Claire"of Assisi, hence the name. After the French Revolution the convent was destroyed, demolished and the land was sold.

In 1820, Olivier Voutier (archeologist and naval officer), famous for discovering the Venus de Milo on the island of Milos in the Greek archipalego, bought the land. He constructed the present house and named it "Villa Sainte Claire". He repaired the old city walls between the villa and the tower. Next to the tower is Voutier's grave.

Venus de Milo

In 1927, Edith Wharton, an American novelist, purchased the property and created the garden in its present form.
In 1955 the property was purchased by the city of Hyeres and since 1990 it is the administrative office for the offshore islands Port Cros and Porquerolles.

What makes the garden interesting is its position with views over Hyeres and the sea and the lovely garden with its large collection of Salvias and other plants suited to a Mediterranean climate. Worldwide there are around 900 species of Salvias, 500 of them from U.S. states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, Mexico, Central and South |America. The 400 remaining species come from Europe to Asia. The Salvias with the most flamboyant colours tend to come from the New World, the others having more subdued colours.

Some of the Salvias of the Americas tend to be tender, but varieties of Salvia greggii and Salvia microphylla survive our climate. To differentiate between the two is sometimes quite difficult. They both are bushy plants with lots of leaves, the leaves of Salvia greggii have smooth edges, whilst the ones of Salvia microphylla are serrated. The two easily cross pollinate and some of these hybrids are known as Salvia x jamensis + their specific name, for example Salvia x jamensis "Fuego". Why jamenis because it was James Compton who discovered some of these hybrids growing near the village of Jame in Mexico. Their second name in this instance "Fuego" refers to what the person who discovered the variety wanted to call it, often what the plant looks like.

The best time to plant Salvias is in spring. They flower in general twice a year in spring and in autumn. Pruning in our area is best done in early spring and again lightly after they have flowered in late spring as they get very untidy if they are not pruned.

The following are some of the Mediterranean plants we came across:

Abutilon megapotamicum.

Bauhinia variegata (Orchid Tree), tender

Beschorneria yuccoides, grows in Lilliane's garden near Draguignan.
Bulbine frutescens, tender.

Cestrum elegans, tender. This is for Sue who was wondering what the shrub was. They can reach 3 m. in height.
Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis or "Buddha's hand", tender.

Iochroma cyanea, tender.
Lampranthus aurantiacus, tender.
Macfadyena unguis-cacti, tender. Some of us thought it was a Tecoma, but the leaves of the Tecoma are serrated. The flowers look very similar though, tender.

Metrosideros excelsus, tender

There were so many lovely Salvias, hard to identify them all. The following are just a few we came across:

Salvia chamaedryoides.

Salvia darcyi.

Salvia discolor, tender.

Salvia greggii -x-serphyll

Salvia guaranitica, tender.
Salvia x jamensis "Red Velvet".
Salvai microphylla "Hot Lips".
Salvia microphylla "Maroon".
Salvia microphylla "Mauve":
Streptosolen jamesonii:
After Parc Sainte Claire we stopped to have lunch in old Hyeres:




Our afternoon visit was to "Iris en Provence", an Iris and Hemerocallis grower situated just outside Hyeres. The owner told us that the best time to plant Irises in our area is between mid August and November. Iris can stay in the same spot for 5 years, they then need to be split up and replanted in a fresh spot to give the soil a change to recover. If you leave them, they flower less and less. After planting to encourage strong root growth the iris leaves need to be pruned into an inverted V shape.




Iris "Connection":


Iris "Romantic Evening":



Iris "Superstition":















Iris?: cannot identify:




Iris "Jurassic Park":






















Iris "Draco":

Iris "Nordica ":

Iris "Gallant":
Iris "Regimen":
Iris "Octoberfest:
Iris "Fashion Queen":





Photos: Marie-France Parkes, Isabel Pardoe, Liliane Feldman and Gerda Nagtegaal.
Bibliography: Wikipedia: History of Park & Castel Sainte Claire. Salvias by Christine Yeo.
A website with lovely Salvia photo's: www.robinssalvias.com


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Beignets de fleurs d'acacia



Pour 4 personnes, il faut :
- 250 gr de farine,
- 3 oeufs,
- 30 cl de lait,
- 20 cl de bière blonde,
- une cuillère à café d'huile,
- du sucre semoule
- une pincée de sel fin,
- une vingtaine de grappes de fleurs d'acacia.


- l'idéal est de ne pas laver les fleurs, si toutefois vous n'êtes pas sûr de leur provenance, lavez-les et mettez-les à sècher la veille de la préparation,
- mélangez l'ensemble des ingrédients sauf le sucre et les fleurs d'acacia jusqu'à l'obtention d'une pâte sans grumeaux et bien fluide,
- après une à deux heures de repos (pour la pâte) faites chauffer l'huile de la friteuse comme pour des frites et préparer à proximiter une assiette, avec un papier absorbant au fond, et le sucre semoule à portée de main,
- dès que l'huile a atteint la bonne température, prenez une fleur d'acacia par la tige et trempez-la intégralement dans la pâte, puis rapidement (attention la pâte va s'écouler), plongez la fleur dans la friteuse. La cuisson est très rapide, quelques secondes après que le beignet soit revenu à la surface, retournez-l e avec une spatule en bois, attendez encore quelques secondes et retiré votre beignet de la friture.



www.univers-nature.com/.../beignet-acacia.html

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